A potential solution to housing affordability?

Published on 18/07/2012  Group GSA

A pilot project was announced by Mayor Bloomberg in NYC last week which looks to provide a solution for rental and owner affordability by developing a project of ‘Micro Units’. The Micro units are to be between 25-28sqm and will form the brief for a Design and Development Competition. 

The city is responding to the rise in single unit families, housing affordability, and the Policy and Planning constraints which govern mix and unit sizes. These are the same issues that we are facing here in Sydney, where the cost of housing and living now sees Sydney at number 11 in the 2012 Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey for most expensive cities, twenty two places ahead of NYC at number 33.

The concept of creating developments in city locations close to public transport, which cater to an under-supplied housing sector, poses some challenges; current City of Sydney Council policies restrict studio apartments to 15% of any development and have a minimum size of 40sqm, which preclude the ‘Micro Units’ solution.  As long as residential design, amenity and sustainability are of a high quality, this could open the market to a new urban housing model for the future, easing some of the shortfall in both housing supply and affordability that Sydney is known for.